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What’s the Difference Between Web Design and Web Programming?

So you’ve heard of Web Design Services, and you’ve heard of Web Programming Services.

What’s the difference? Do you have to hire both…or can you just work with a designer? Is it a good idea to hire one person for your programming and your design work? If you need both, should you hire a team or a separate individual for each?

In this article, we’d like to share the difference between a web designer and a web programmer and what you should know before hiring either one.

How Web Designers Differ from Web Programmers

If your website were a physical building, web programmers would be your construction team. They’d do all the technical measurements; they lay the foundation, create the wood or steel framework, lay the bricks install plumbing and run the electrical wiring.

The web designers on the other hand, would be like your architects, your interior designers and your landscapers. They’d conceive and create the esthetic features of your building. They’d choose the paint colors, the landscaping, the shape and design of your windows, your doors and the types of materials used on the outside (stucco, bricks etc).

So by working together, web programmers and web designers can create a well-structured, attractive website; one which gives your business a great chance of succeeding online.

Unfortunately, web designers and web programmers can also get in each other’s way.  There are three ways this can happen…

#1: Web Designers Can be Bad Programmers

Some web designers position themselves as “one stop solutions,” for web programming and for web design. But there are a few reasons you might want to hire a team which includes a web programming specialist and a separate web design specialist. The primary reason is that some designers can be sloppy when creating complex code.

One example of this is “code bloat.”

Code bloat is where a programmer uses 50 lines of programming code to accomplish what could have easily been accomplished using 10 lines. Of course, the extra lines of code don’t make your site look any different. But every time your site loads, it has to load all 50 lines of code into the user’s browser instead of just loading ten. This difference can be measured in milliseconds, but imagine that multiplied by 100.

That’s how code boat slows down your load times. Web programmers sometimes have to correct these problems, which isn’t easy since they’re working with someone else’s code at that point. This can be avoided by hiring a team of two or more specialists instead of working with a “one man show.”

#2: Web Programmers Can Make Life Hard for Web Designers

Good web design is important for marketing, so you want to make life easy for the person who is polishing up your site. However, since web programming has to be completed first (or simultaneously with web design), your web programmer and web designer have to play well together.

If your web programmer is a sloppy coder, it can be hard for a designer to just zip in and add the code required to make your site look good. Ask any web designer how hard it is to work around a sloppy programmer, you’ll get some horror stories. This eats up time for the designer, which means you’re paying them for more hours of work than you should be.

It’s also harder to make changes even to simple design featured if the site was poorly coded by the web programmer. This is especially important if you’re building a site with dynamic interactive features. Web programmers use languages like JavaScript, PHP & MySQL. Web designers use simpler languages like HTML and CSS code.

This is why it’s a good idea to find a web programmer and a web designer who are both specialists at what they do AND who are used to working together.

#3: Web Programmers & Web Designers Can Have Communication Breakdowns

Most web designers are artistic types. Web programmers tend to be more technical.

Can you imagine the potential for miscommunication? Miscommunications can create delays and cost you more money than you would have paid by hiring a team of specialists who is used to working together. Remember, web designers and web programmers both work by the hour and the good ones aren’t cheap.

Do you want to pay $50 to $80 to $100 an hour for miscommunications between a web designer and web programmer? This is why you want to hire a team who has been working together for a while. Most important, find a team with a project manager; someone who understands marketing and SEO and who communicate with you about your business goals.

Few web designers are marketing experts and even fewer web programmers understand marketing, usability and how to create a good visitor experience. Your website is the only representation of your company which some customers will see; so pick a team of specialists who can give you the most value possible for your money.

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